How to Drop 10 Seconds in the 200 IM: Expert Tips

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The 200 Individual Medley (IM) is a challenging event that tests a swimmer’s versatility and endurance. Completing this race requires proficiency in all four swimming strokes and the ability to transition seamlessly between them. If you’re looking to improve your performance in the 200 IM and shave off 10 seconds of your time, this article provides ten proven strategies to help you achieve your goal.

swimmer competing in the 200 IM

1. Master Your Underwater Dolphin Kicking

One of the most effective ways to improve your performance in the 200 IM is to focus on developing a strong underwater dolphin kick. This technique is essential for maintaining speed and momentum during the transitions between strokes. Practice your underwater dolphin kick during training sessions, focusing on generating power from your core and using proper kicking technique. Work on increasing your distance with each kick and aim to streamline off the walls.

2. Improve Your Streamline Position

Streamlining is crucial for minimizing resistance and maximizing efficiency in the water. Work on perfecting your streamline position off the start and each wall push-off. Engage your core, extend your arms straight above your head, and press your biceps against your ears. Maintaining a streamlined body position will help you move through the water more efficiently, ultimately leading to faster times.

3. Enhance Your Stroke Technique

Each stroke in the 200 IM requires a specific set of techniques. Focus on refining your stroke technique for each of the four strokes – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Work with your coach to identify areas for improvement and practice drills that target those specific areas. Proper body alignment, efficient arm movements, and a strong kick are all essential components of stroke technique.

4. Develop a Strong Core

A strong core is crucial for generating power and maintaining stability in the water. Incorporate core exercises into your dryland training routine to strengthen your abdominal and lower back muscles. Exercises such as planks, Russian twists, and flutter kicks can help improve your core strength, which translates into better body control and efficiency in the water.

5. Train for Endurance

The 200 IM requires both speed and endurance. Incorporate longer distance swims into your training routine to build your cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Gradually increase the distance and intensity of your training sessions to simulate the demands of the race. Interval training and sets that target each stroke individually can also help improve your endurance and overall performance.

6. Work on Your Turns

Efficient turns can make a significant difference in your overall time in the 200 IM. Practice your turns during training sessions, focusing on maintaining momentum and executing quick and streamlined transitions. Work on your flip turns for each stroke and practice open turns for the breaststroke. The more efficient and powerful your turns, the more time you can save during the race.

7. Fine-Tune Your Pacing

Pacing is critical in the 200 IM, as it requires a delicate balance between speed and endurance. Experiment with different pacing strategies during training sessions to find the approach that works best for you. Practice maintaining a consistent and controlled pace throughout each stroke, avoiding starting too fast and fading towards the end. Developing a solid understanding of your optimal pacing can help you shave off valuable seconds.

8. Implement Interval Training

Interval training is an effective way to improve your speed and stamina in the 200 IM. Incorporate interval sets into your training routine, alternating between high-intensity efforts and periods of active recovery. This type of training simulates the demands of the race and helps improve your ability to sustain a fast pace. Design sets that target each stroke individually, as well as sets that incorporate transitions between strokes.

9. Visualize Success

Visualization is a powerful mental technique that can enhance your performance in the 200 IM. Take time before each race or training session to visualize yourself swimming the perfect race. Imagine yourself executing flawless strokes, performing seamless transitions, and finishing strong. Visualizing success can help build confidence, improve focus, and prepare you mentally for the challenges of the race.

10. Seek Feedback and Guidance

Don’t hesitate to seek feedback and guidance from your coach or a swimming professional. They can provide valuable insights, identify areas for improvement, and help you fine-tune your technique and race strategy. Regularly communicate with your coach about your goals and progress, and be open to their suggestions and advice.

By incorporating these ten proven strategies into your training and race preparation, you can significantly improve your performance in the 200 IM and aim to shave off 10 seconds from your current time. Focus on mastering your underwater dolphin kicking, improving your streamline position, enhancing stroke technique, developing a strong core, training for endurance, working on turns, fine-tuning pacing, implementing interval training, visualizing success, and seeking feedback and guidance. With dedication, consistency, and the right approach, you can achieve your goal and become a stronger and faster swimmer in the 200 IM.